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Can I Sue My Employer While Still Employed In California?

Updated: Dec 30, 2022

Employee Protections Against Retaliation In California Labor Law

Yes. If your employer tries to get back at you for doing so, you can use them again for retaliation.

So, if you have a wage and hour claim, sued your employer, and were punished for it in the form of demotions and harassment, then you have the right to file a retaliation claim in California.

This aspect of California employment law is meant to deter employers from going after employees. Likewise, it encourages bereaved workers to sue or report their bosses to the appropriate authorities.

That said, what comprises retaliation laws in California? How can you benefit from it? First, let's look at what our prescreened California Retaliation Attorneys have to say about it:

What Constitutes "Retaliation" In California Labor Law?

Employers cannot retaliate, "punish", or "try to get back at you" for doing a protected activity. These protected activities as considered your employment law rights, so your boss can't take action against them.

Examples of retaliatory actions include but are not limited to:

  • Termination

  • Demotion

  • Suspensions

  • Harassment

  • Pay cuts

And yes, it doesn't have to be an obvious form of punishment. For example, your boss could deliberately assign you to a store location or branch that's very obviously difficult for the commute. They might also start to pile on more work. Worse, they would tolerate harassment from other employees or join in on them.

If you're unsure whether your claim is viable, consult a prescreened California employment law attorney. An experienced labor law attorney in Los Angeles knows how to build strong cases, conduct their own investigations, and represent clients in negotiations or court.

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On "Protected Activity" In California Labor Law

What can be considered a protected activity in California labor law? Here are a few examples:

  • Suing your boss for employment claims in California

  • Expressing dissatisfaction with the employer or others' discrimination

  • Threatening to report the employee or others to the authorities for discrimination

  • Providing details for a workplace investigation into a complaint of harassment or discrimination

  • Refusing to follow a directive that you reasonably think to be unlawful or discriminatory

  • Fighting back against harassment

  • Protecting people from harassment by taking action

  • Requesting an accommodation due to a disability or pregnancy

  • Reporting your employer to OSHA, the EEOC, FEHA, etc.

There may be several other instances of protected employee action; this list is not all-inclusive. However, the list does give some indication of the kinds of activities that are considered protected. In addition, the list mentioned above shows you that many different actions can qualify as protected activity.

Going up against your employer might be a daunting experience. The best way would be to hire an experienced retaliation claim lawyer in California. Your prescreened California retaliation lawyer will represent you in settlement negotiations, manage your case, and help you should things escalate to the courts.

What You Need To Prepare For Filing Retaliation Claims In California

Gather all the information necessary to support your retaliation claim after confirming that you have the proper amount of time to file a claim. This typically includes any notes or records of your employment, pay stubs, and workplace performance reviews.

You and other coworkers may be interviewed. This could apply to managers or other workers. Additionally, they might ask for more paperwork to aid in the analysis of your claim. Then, a hearing date will be set for your claim. You and your employer will both have the opportunity to submit your cases during the hearing using testimony, witnesses, or documents.

You and your employer might agree on a settlement before or after a hearing. A resolution of your retaliation suit typically comes with your employer agreeing to pay you a certain amount. Out-of-court settlements are a more straightforward resolution, so you and your California labor law attorney should actively work through the negotiations.

If a settlement cannot be reached, you will get a written decision about your claim soon after the hearing. If it is determined that your company retaliated against you, they may be required to make up your lost earnings or to take back the retaliation (i.e., giving back pay, reinstating you to your former job position, etc.). In addition, the ruling can mandate that your employer refrain from future retaliation or expunge all negative details and all references to the claim from your personnel file.

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Have you experienced retaliation in the workplace? 1000Attorneys is a California State Bar Certified lawyer referral service that links clients with fitting California employment law attorneys.


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